Transatlantic Business Class from $687 [Why You Don’t Want to Book Roundtrip Awards]

Business class fares originating in Europe to the US are often cheaper than fares which originate in the U.S.

Back in the spring TAP Air Portugal had one way business class Europe – US as low as $408. Originating in Northern Europe I’ve seen roundtrip business class under $1000.

Currently you can fly Copenhagen – New York, Miami, or Boston starting at about $1000 roundtrip on Star Alliance member TAP Air Portugal via Lisbon. (HT: Flyertalk)

On the one hand, it’s a great fare. And it’s worth noting because I have many readers in Europe. However I have more readers in the U.S. and I want to focus on how this is useful to Americans too.

You can fly Copenhagen to the U.S. one way for $687.

And this is a fare that’s broadly available:

Does TAP have the best business class? No. But it’s Westbound, not an overnight flight where the best sleep matters, and it’s better than premium economy.

Key details for fare basis JDKEXI0D:

  • free stopover permitted in Lisbon
  • Refunds of a one way are 150 euros
  • Changes are 140 euros (plus any difference in fare)

When there are cheap fares Europe – US, you ought to consider…

  1. Flying to Europe, such as on an award ticket, and booking roundtrips originating in Europe. One award ticket and nested paid tickets cover as many roundtrips as you wish while getting the cheaper Europe-originating fares [provided you can lock in dates for all of them].

  2. Flying to Europe on an award ticket, and booking a one-way ticket back to the U.S.

At 60,000 or 70,000 miles one-way for a business class award ticket it can be far more desirable to save the miles, pay $700, and earn miles even for the ticket plus there may be far better availability for a discounted paid fare.

And it can be even cheaper than realize in comparison. If you’re using a program like Delta which adds fuel surcharges for tickets originating in Europe, or Aeroplan which adds fuel surcharges on many of their partner airlines including Air Canada and Lufthansa, or heaven forbid British Airways which adds fuel surcharges onto awards period while offering a mediocre product then the difference in cash cost may only be a couple hundred bucks. (In fact this one-way TAP fare is a $365 base fare with the rest taxes and fees.)

The point is — save the miles, save the fuel surcharges, and consider buying the one-way that’s sold cheaply while using miles for the expensive ticket.

That doesn’t always line up with your plans. For this fare you’d have to position to Copenhagen, and there’s added cost to get home if you don’t live in one of TAP Air Portugal’s US gateways. But it’s definitely something to keep top of mind when booking awards.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary, one of your best posts! There is always more than one way to play the game. Meaning that sometimes paying, gives you more. One should also look at consolidators. Who’s fares can earn miles, some don’t. But tell the consolidator to look for fares that earn miles. London has hundreds of consolidators, with low fares.

  2. Don’t forget with an AmEx Platinum this one-way flight would only cost ~48,000 MR points and would still earn miles.

  3. I have an upcoming TATL trip: I live on the U.S. west coast. To take advantage of the TAP fare to get back to the west coast I’d have to buy a paid fare (though Y fares can be bought for under $100 o/w) to CPH from central Europe, then fly to Lisbon, change planes or do a stopover, then fly to one of the U.S. east coast TAP cities, then change planes via an award or paid ticket to get me back to the west coast. So, add in the time and expense and for me the cost-benefit is not there. Instead I did a one flight, non-stop J award out of Germany on LH using 63k LifeMiles bought for less than 1.5 cents p/m. So with airline tax, booking fee the one-way J award priced at $1,035. Consider the LH paid fare is listed at over $6,000. I end up paying about 17% of that!

  4. I wish that transatlantic airfares were generally priced as one way flights instead of as round trip flights. This would make the practice even easier. Why are they priced in this way, as opposed to domestic flights that are almost always priced as one way tickets?

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